Why Rangers rely on Ashley

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From the pre-new year hope which
followed the snapping up of shares by the Three Bears, to the further fuel of
inspiration caused by Dave King buying some of Artemis’ and Miton’s shares to
make him the single-most largest shareholder of all, to then learn in one day
that Rangers were £500,000 away from being wound up completely and then that
NBA giants the Phoenix Suns’ majority shareholder Robert Carver had submitted
an informal £18M bid for outright control…
Being a Rangers fan right now has
become an absolute nightmare.
For three days fans truly
believed a little beacon of light was at the end of the never-ending tunnel of
despair, with four major players snapping up shares. But then supporters were
brought straight back down to earth when news broke that Sandy Easdale’s loan
of £500,000 stopped the Club ceasing to exist. Coupled with the news of
Sarver’s interest, which the American has fully confirmed, and it is safe to
say the non-stop saga of Rangers Football Club is not stopping any time soon,
leaving us to just concentrate on the team.
No, the problem of insolvency now
fully hangs over our heads, while, unfortunately, (depending on your view),
Mike Ashley has complete and utter control. That £2M loan he gave some months
ago has borderline given him the reigns, with the condition of said loan being
that he was able to appoint two ‘representatives’ to the board, and the further
£1M he provided essentially gave him the power to turn them into CEO and
Finance Director. Derek Llambias calls the shots in the boardroom, while
newly-appointed Barry Leach has control over the company’s finances.
With David Somers eager to do
whatever Ashley wants (in order to preserve his own position as Executive
Chairman) Mike Ashley, put simply, despite only having 9.5% shares, controls
and owns Rangers.
It is not official, of course,
but the man controls the three most powerful positions at the Club, and he has
not had to pay a penny for said control. They answer to him, and him only.
Sarver’s bid was rejected by
them, because Ashley refused to relinquish control, meaning Rangers are 100%
reliant on him and Sandy Easdale for secure loans in order that the Club stays
afloat.
Many fans may wonder why Ashley,
if he has any of the Club’s best interests at heart along with his own business
dealings (it is in his own interests that Rangers are profitable, in order to
give his Sports Direct maximum exposure, particularly in the Champions League
in the not-too-distant future), does not just invest money rather than loaning
it.
Why? Because, like or hate him,
he is an incredibly wealthy, successful businessman and men like these do not
achieve that status by throwing money away into a black hole.
Rangers’ finances are a black
hole – every ounce of money going into Rangers at this moment is keeping the
lights on. It is going to creditors, energy companies, merchandise partners,
subsidiaries, you name it. That money is not coming back, which is why the
likes of Easdale and Ashley loan with security. Because they are not throwing their
money away.
Would you?
Now, before the critics of this
blog get ready with their keyboards, angrily preparing to cut me down in the
comments section as a pro-Ashley/Easdale drone, I must assert the following:
I am absolutely not condoning the
state Ashley and Easdale have ended us up in. That we are slaves to secured
loans, assets (Macleod to name but one) being pawned against cash to keep us
afloat is a disgusting state of affairs and we have been thoroughly
manipulated, particularly by Ashley, into this state of affairs, whereby we
basically rely on his loans to keep us in business.
However, the fact that in three
years no one has invested a single penny into our Club, be it fan groups, hedge
funds, wealthy individuals or otherwise is telling. No knights in shining
armour have arrived to invest millions at us, other than via share issues, and
that is standard etiquette for any Plc. All the hard offers of cash are for
control, not investment. You will not see King, Sarver, Easdale or Ashley
investing cash. And why? Because there is absolutely no return on it, and these
people are not charities.
You do not get successful in
business by chucking your cash down a financial black hole, and that is exactly
what ‘working capital’ means – it means the cash that goes out to keep your
undersoil heating working, the cash which pays for the WIFI bandwidth. It does
not come back. Hence Easdale and Ashley only loan it.
Would any of us supporters
honestly look in our bank accounts, take out a quarter and simply give it to
Rangers to keep the lights on? Not a chance. Money is valuable, and even fans
want a return on their investment – they want to see youth schemes, squad
rebuilds, expansions to various community programs associated with the Club.
None of this is possible when you require around £10M working capital just to
pay your bills.
Rangers desperately need a rise
in income, and that can only happen once promotion happens. TV cash will go up,
sponsorship deals will bring in more, season tickets will increase and there
will be a tiny outside chance of European football. Plus prize money in the SPL
is far higher than outside.
It is an absolute state this Club
has ended up in, a combination of Ashley’s manipulation and the natural loss of
three years of income. It is worth remembering we are around £50M down per
season basic income thanks to ‘demotion’. Not even the oft-touted £70M fans
complain ‘went down the drain’ would have covered the £150M basic income needed
to sustain the Club over the past three years, cash we would normally get in
the SPL but only get a fraction of now.
With Ashley in control, we (like
it or not) answer to him for now, and our absolute hope is he truly does
deliver on what we pray he does, and gets us into the CL once we return to the
SPL.
Getting to the SPL, however, is
the sticking point.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi Mike
    Please consider the following strategy:
    accept that the current board will never be accepted by the fans.
    give the club till the close season to repay your £3m loan.
    donate your shareholding to the Rangers fans
    renegotiate the preposterous 'strip' contract
    go from zero to HERO!
    sit back and enjoy profits for many years to come
    You know it makes sense!
    endgame

  2. THE ASHLEY PROBLEM
    Two points to consider regarding Ashley dictatorship:
    He is driven by Sports Direct profit.
    Rangers would be subjected to a lifetime of servitude.
    THE ASHLEY SOLUTION
    Is it time for UK, indeed European fans, to unite and coordinate their considerable consumer clout against commercial insurgents such as Ashley? National, aggressive consumer boycotting would have a marked influence on the strategic decision making of these football pirates.

    We must attempt to forge alliances with the Football Supporters' Federation in England and Wales(I'm sure Newcastle fan would embrace the idea) and their European counterparts. The fans, who are after all, the lifeblood of the game, could exert considerable financial pressure on tyrants such as Ashley. We would have to act in a spirit of comradeship, and mutual respect, coming to the assistance of all member clubs, great and small, irrespective of geographical position.

  3. This guy sarver should be taken on board,due to the fact that he is in the sport business, it maybe in the states but at the end of the day sport is sport, and it would not be hard for him to get to grips with football,
    .

    • I guess just the fact that his NBA Team does business with Ashley (from news stories yesterday) so another green and whyte scenario is one assumption.

    • Don't know about unsavoury but he has a relation in Newton Mearns who apparently is a season ticket holder.

    • Hey! This is looking GREAT!!!! I know this dude, not sure his real name but nickname is Solly. If this is any indication we really need Sarver right in with us bears.